If you suspect someone under the age of 18 is being abused or neglected, or is at risk for abuse or neglect, you should make a report to your local Child Protective Services (CPS) office.

  • Call the state-wide Hotline at 1-866-363-4276
  • Find more information on our Resources, Hotlines & Help page

Find out more about Reporting Suspected Child Abuse by clicking each arrow below:

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Child Abuse Helplines:

Helplines are staffed with trained operators to deal with your questions about suspected child abuse.



The Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF) offers reporting hotlines specific to the region the child lives in:  Visit

Region 1


Region 2


Region 3


Region 4


Region 5


Region 6



Find a CAC:

Child Advocacy Centers (CAC's) provide coordinated legal, medical, and social services to child victims of abuse. If you are unsure about making an official report or you are/know a (youth) victim in need of support, contact a child advocacy center in your area.

To find a Washington CAC near you visit our Find a Center page

To find a CAC in another state, visit the National Children’s Alliance at:

In Washington State:
The Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF - Formally DSHS) Website has helpful information on reporting abuse. Please visit DCYF at

Not in Washington State: 
The Child Welfare Information Gateway: lists ALL States toll-free numbers and websites for specific agencies designated to receive and investigate reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. 
Click the green link below the Logo to be directed to

Information to Include

►Please take a moment before calling to put together as much of the following information as possible: 

  1. Name, age and address of the child.
  2. Name, address, and other identifying information about the parent or other caregiver.
  3. The type of abuse you witnessed including information on the extent of the abuse and who caused the abuse.
  4. Information about any previous incidents or concerns.
  5. Any other information that might be helpful.

You do not need to know all of this information to make a report, but the more specific you can be, the easier it will be for CPS to determine if an investigation is needed.

Even if CPS does not investigate, the information will be kept on file and may aid in future investigations.

Even if you are not a mandated reporter under state law, you have an obligation to protect children in your community. You cannot be held liable for making a report in good faith. You do not have to know for sure that a child is being abused or neglected to make a report. A trained investigator will make that determination.

Concerns about Reporting Suspected Abuse

Concerns about reporting suspected abuse:  Any person who in good faith makes a report or gives testimony in regard to possible child abuse or neglect is immune from civil or criminal liability. Any administrator of a hospital or similar institution or licensed physician taking a child into custody, such as in the instance when a hospital hold is warranted, is also immune from liability (RCW 26.44.060). See Duty to Report.

Immunity from civil or criminal liability—Confidential communications not violated—Actions against state not affected—False report, penalty

The law seeks to prevent malicious reporting which can occur as a result of family or neighborhood disputes. 

(4) A person who, intentionally and in bad faith, knowingly makes a false report of alleged abuse or neglect shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable in accordance with RCW 9A.20.021.
(5) A person who, in good faith and without gross negligence, cooperates in an investigation arising as a result of a report made pursuant to this chapter, shall not be subject to civil liability arising out of his or her cooperation.

Kids Tip Sheet: How You Can Help Someone Who Is Being Abused or Neglected

 View and Download the Kids Tip Sheet: "How You can help Someone who is being Abused or Neglected". A fact sheet from the Child Welfare Information Gateway that provides helpful information on what child abuse is, how to help someone that they are concerned about and what to do if someone needs help.


Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2018). How you can help someone who is being abused or neglected. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.

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This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway
Suggested Citation: Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2018). How you can help someone who is being abused or neglected. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.

Visit our page on Types of Abuse to find more resources and information.

Children's Advocacy Centers of Washington is an accredited member of the NCA

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